Label: EMI/Dik Hayd Records
Released: April 6, 2010
I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, having never been a fan of albums that feature a soloist with a who’s who of vocalists. Most are odes to egotism that are chaotic musical ramblings with no distinctive voice. Slash’s self-titled solo project could have been all of that and worse, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the record from the opening track.
Slashhas managed to bring a disparate collective of vocalists together without completely losing the cohesiveness one listens for on a record. Throughout the albums 14 tracks, one can hear that Slash has evolved as both a guitarist and musician. He is pressing out into new territories while remaining true to his essential “Slashness.”
All the Appetite For Destruction era Gun’s members not named Axl, all make appearances on the album.
The voices that bring these songs to life represent quite the eclectic mix, but for the most part each track works individually and as a complete album– In large part because the singer worked on the writing of the song with Slash to some extent. And also because Slash chose each singer for how he thought their style would fit the music.
The Cult’s Ian Astbury kicks the album off in high style on “Ghosts.” A perfect blend of the artists two styles. Former Guns ‘n Roses counterpart plays alongside Slash on this piece. “Ghosts” makes me yearn for a new Cult album. “Kill the ghost that hides in your soul…rock and roll.”
One of the album’s unique and most intriguing surprises comes on track three when Fergie lends her voice to the crunchy-sweet ballsy rocker, “Beautiful Dangerous.” Perhaps an appropriate description of Fergie, but surprising none-the-less to see the metal side of the hip-pop artist. This is one of the albums highlight tracks.
Alterbridgevocalist, Myles Kennedy is the only vocalist to appear on two tracks; the bluesy “Back To Cali” and “Starlight,” which has a smoky Free/Bad Company flavor. Kennedy will be Slash’s touring vocalist.
Chris Cornell pops up on “Promise.” If you like Cornell you’ll like the song. As a non-fan, I think he does the track a disservice.
The album slows midway through with “By The Sword,” which features Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale, thus lending a modern Led Zeppelin touch to the track. Meanwhile, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine lends a smooth pop element to the moody, “Gotten.”
Duff McKagan shows up on the instrumental “Watch This” which also features Dave Grohl(Foo Fighters, The Crooked Vultures). The track rumbles along with a very progressive Rush feel. This jam simply slays.
Kid Rock brings his own Motown meets Skynyrd vibe to “I Hold On,” while Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) fills “Doctor Alibi” with his trademark crunchy growl and his rumbling bass. Just listening to the latter song makes you feel dirty in the best of ways.
Another of the album’s highlights is the pairing of Slash with Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows. The two shine on “Nothing To Say,” with Slash really playing off Shadows style and further proving his own diversity in the process. Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age) did his own take on this track as “Chains and Shackles.” His cut appears as a bonus track, and really shows how much influence the vocalist had in the final outcome of their track.
Even Slash’s collaboration with self-styled punker, Iggy Pop embellishes and elevates vocalist’s edgy countenance on “We’re All Gonna Die.”
Bonus tracks include a sweet collaboration between Alice Cooper andNicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls on “Baby Can’t Drive, ” which also features Fleaon bass and Steven Adler on drums. Los Angeles based musician Beth Hart lends her voice to the song “Mother Maria,” a smoky, bluesy, folk rocker. Finally Cypress Hill and Fergie team up on a hip-rock remake of the Guns and Roses classic “Paradise City.”
While the basic solo album is 14 tracks long, another seven songs can be found including a DJ instrumental of “Beautiful Dangerous,” and a “Guitar Hero” instrumental.
The genius of Slash’s solo album is how deftly he made the album about the talent around him rather than making it a showcase for his id. The album is all over the map yet the songs blend together with an easy to appreciate cohesiveness.
A tip of the top hat to America’s mysterious guitar hero!